Insights from the latest US economic report
The latest report from the Commerce Department provides insight into the state of the US economy, with data on inflation, personal income, and consumer spending.
Here's a breakdown of the key findings:
PCE Price Index
In February, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy increased by 0.3%, slightly lower than the Dow Jones estimate of 0.4% and the January increase of 0.5%. The core PCE on a 12-month basis rose by 4.6%, slightly less than in January. The headline PCE, including food and energy, rose by 0.3% monthly and 5% annually, compared to 0.6% and 5.3% in January.
Personal Income and Consumer Spending
Personal income increased by 0.3%, above the estimated 0.2%. Consumer spending increased by 0.2%, compared to the 0.3% estimate.
Economist at LPL Financial, sees promising signs for investors, with inflation likely to be below 4% by the end of the year. This would give the Federal Reserve room to cut rates if the economy falls into recession. However, Fed officials are still predicting one more increase this year, with traders expecting cuts and end-year pricing for the federal funds rate at 4.25%-4.5%, half a point below the current target range.
While inflation has ebbed in some areas, it remains pernicious in others. Shelter costs, in particular, have risen sharply. Fed officials are looking past this increase and expect rents to decelerate through the year.
Data released last week shows that borrowing through two emergency Fed lending programs decreased slightly, indicating that there has been no frantic liquidity dash for banks that may be undercapitalized.
Overall, the data shows that inflation remains steady, with slight changes in personal income and consumer spending. Investors remain optimistic, but the Federal Reserve is keeping a watchful eye on inflation and the potential for a recession.